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Friday, May 1, 2020

Ultimate Banana Cake | The Ingredients of You and Me

Ultimate Banana Cake | The Ingredients of You and Me
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

How does embarking on new adventures, cementing good friendships, moments packed with sexual tension, and getting your mojo back sound? Good, right!? I think so, which is why I adored The Ingredients of You and Me, the 3rd book in Nina Bocci's Hopeless Romantics series. To be fair, I fell for the residents of Hope Lake halfway into the first book when I read it last year, so that soft spot was just waiting for another installment.

A few months ago I shared this Garlic Parmesan Wings recipe inspired by book 2, and today I'll be sharing a book 3-inspired recipe with you as part of my TLC Book Tours stop!

This book shifts the focus onto Parker, a professional baker with a bit of "Food Network fame" under her belt. We first met her in Meet Me On Love Lane, when she came to Hope Lake to visit her best friend Charlotte for July 4th festivities. During this visit, white-hot sparks flew between her and Nick, one of the guys from Charlotte's group of friends. The two wound up having a hot and heavy...and SECRET...relationship over the next few months, until Nick ghosts Parker, and she's left with so many unresolved feelings.
TLC Book Tours host

Parker decides to make a major life change by selling her successful bakery and take some time for herself. Unfortunately, she winds up losing her mojo...her baking mojo, that is. Nothing she bakes turns out anymore and she winds up feeling lost in her Brooklyn apartment. So, she decides to give herself a change of scenery by visiting her bestie Charlotte in Hope Lake, with an open-ended timetable.

Since Hope Lake is a small community, she knows she'll have to face running into Nick while she's there. Fortunately (for the reader) the sparks and sensual are still as high as ever, even though Parker finds out that Nick currently has a girlfriend.
Ultimate Banana Cake | The Ingredients of You and Me
Okay, I don't like to spoil books, so I'll stop there, for the most part. I will say that of the 3 Hope Lake couples, I think Parker and Nick may just be my favorite (but I love them all)...and this may just be my favorite of the books! Tons of food, plenty of sexy situations, a hot guy, a happy ending. I mean, come on.

Why yes, I do have my own little crush on Nick. That is precisely why I knew I'd have to make a recipe featuring bananas—because they are Nick's favorite. But also, I had to give a nod to Parker, who did, after many messes and debacles, get her mojo back. She baked up a storm of goodies in this book, including lots scones, cakes, and cupcakes. And while I'm normally a pie kind of girl, I really felt my own mojo kick into gear while churning around ideas for the creation of this cake!

If you're a fan of romantic comedy and baking, you will enjoy this book as well. You don't have to read the first 2 books in the series to understand it, but why wouldn't you? It will definitely enhance your experience. And hopefully you'll fall in love with the Hope Lake gang, as well.

One of these days I'm going to go back and create a recipe inspired by On the Corner of Love and Hate (book 1) to share here on the blog, because now that I have books 2 and 3 here, it feels a little incomplete without one...

The Ingredients of You and Me by Nina Bocci

The Ingredients of You and Me

author: Nina Bocci
series: The Hopeless Romantics Series (book 3)
publisher: Gallery Books (April 28, 2020)
book tour: TLC Book Tours
genre: Romantic Comedy
soft cover: 320 pages

"foodie" read: yes

opening sentence: "Coffee is on, bagels are artfully arranged on the platter cream cheese is chilled, and nerves are shot," I said to the blissfully quiet space.

teaser: From the USA TODAY bestselling author of the “heartwarming and refreshingly sweet” (Lauren Layne, New York Times bestselling author) On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a story about a baker who takes her chances on a new town…and an old love.

After selling her famous bakery back in New York, Parker Adams visits Hope Lake, Pennsylvania, to figure out her next steps. And soon she’s wondering why she ever loved city life in the first place. Between the Golden Girls—the senior women who hold court—and Nick Arthur, her equally infuriating and charming former flame, Parker finds a community eager to help her get her mojo back.

But even though Hope Lake gives her the fresh start she’s been looking for, Parker discovers that it’s not so easy to start over again with Nick. Their chemistry is undeniable, but since Nick is a freshly taken man, Parker is determined to keep things platonic. With a recipe for disaster looming, Parker must cook up a new scheme, figuring out how to keep everything she’s come to love before she loses it all.

Perfect for fans of Amy E. Reichert and Jenny Colgan, The Ingredients of You and Me is a scrumptious romantic comedy that lets you have your cake and eat it too.

author Nina Bocci
about the author: Nina Bocci is a USA TODAY bestselling novelist who loves reading and writing about swoony, relatable heroes and smart, witty heroines. If it’s set in a small town, even better. You can always find her chatting on social media about her massive, crazy Italian family, and her favorite person in the world, her son.

connect with the author: website | instagram | facebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Ultimate Banana Cake

Nick nipped at my ear and tugged on the knot to release the apron. "Oops."

He picked up a blank index card and pretended to read. "I see we have all the ingredients we need: you and me."

Yield: serves 10-12

Ultimate Banana Cake

Ultimate Banana Cake

This recipe for Spiced Banana Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugar & Spice Caramelized Bananas is the ultimate cake for banana lovers.
Prep time: 25 MCook time: 45 MTotal time: 70 M


For the Banana Cake
  • 2/3 cup salted butter, at soft room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned into cup then leveled)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain pink Himalayan sea salt (or any fine grain salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 large, very-ripe bananas, mashed until smooth and slightly liquidy
For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at soft room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
For the Sugar & Spice Caramelized Bananas
  • 2 large, yellow bananas
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (see above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar


Make the cake (the day before you need it):
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans; set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and both sugars together until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla. 
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl, then add to the bowl, about a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, until everything is thoroughly mixed and you have a homogeneous batter. Beat in the banana until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour and scrape the batter evenly amongst the two prepared cake pans.
  5. Slide into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set pans on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then carefully turn the cakes out and allow them to finish cooling, top-side facing down on the wire racks.
  6. Wrap each cake individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Make the frosting (start the day before you need it):
  1. After you've transferred the cooled, wrapped cake to the refrigerator, make the browned butter.
  2. Place the butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Once it's melted, it will begin to bubble and foam. Gently swirl the pan a bit as it's foaming, turning golden, and starting to smell "nutty". Once the foaming subsides, and before the milk solids get too dark, remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Once it cools, cover the bowl and let it sit on the counter overnight. Proceed in the morning with finishing the frosting.
  3. Add the room temperature browned butter and cream cheese to a large bowl along with the powdered sugar. Beat until creamy, drizzling the buttermilk in towards the end until combined.
Frost the cake
  1. Remove the cake from the fridge and cut the rounded tops off of each cake before frosting (or don't, that's up to you). Place one cake on a cake plate and add a layer of frosting in the center. Top with the other cake and frost that. I like to put a thick layer in the center and on the top, then do a more "naked" swipe around the sides of the cake. Set aside in a cool spot.
Make the Sugar & Cinnamon Caramelized Bananas
  1. Peel the bananas and cut them into 1/2-inch slices.
  2. Place the honey, butter, spice, and cinnamon in a medium skillet and set it over medium heat until melted. Carefully set the banana slices into the pan in a single layer.
  3. Allow the bananas to caramelize on the bottom for 3 minutes, then use a thin spatula to carefully flip them over, allowing the other side to caramelize for a further 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Gently stir the bananas around every once in a while while allowing them to cool to room temperature (you don't want them to melt the frosting). 
Finishing the cake
  1. Spoon the cooled bananas over the cake.
  2. Use a large, sharp knife to cut into 10-12 wedges and enjoy. 
  3. Store any leftover cake loosely covered, at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Did you make this recipe?
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Created using The Recipes Generator

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